Designed for Desirability – Starbucks Gold Card & iPhone

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Starbucks Gold Card: The desirability of the Starbucks Gold Card stems from both a rewards perspective and a status symbol perspective. In terms of rewards, Gold card members benefit from numerous freebies and perks. They earn a free reward for every 12 transactions that is redeemable for a free drink or food item, a free birthday beverage (or food item), free refills for coffee and a personalized Gold card. I believe, however, that the more important factor attributing to the Gold Card’s desirability is its role as a status symbol. The Gold Card’s largest demographic likely is found amongst college students and young working professionals. In line with the youth mentality of taking pride in slaving away at work night after night and the necessity of a caffeine boost, this Gold Card provides a concrete, tangible proof that the holder of the card is, indeed, a workaholic – a workaholic who is yuppie enough to afford 30 coffees from Starbucks.

iPhone: In addition to it being overall a highly functional, intuitive, and good product, the iPhone excels in being the golden standard (or, well, black/white standard) of smartphones – iconic and chic. I remember when I used to have a “dumb” phone (which is actually as recent as this past September), there’s a certain stigma in taking it out in public (especially working in a tech company that summer, but I’ve actually turned it into a running joke with my co-workers). iPhone succeeds in perfecting the simple and sleek design – allowing for a uniformed look that is not only practical and profitable for the company (ie. standardized accessories, no switching costs for operating systems) but is also easily identifiable by people as a high-end product. Finally, the integration of iPhone with other products in the Apple ecosystem such as Macs and iPads is seamless and quite ingenious – allowing the phone and any one of those products to help cross-sell other Apple products.

Draw yourself on a napkin


Anissa Mak 
Class of 2013 

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